Central Oregon’s iconic music venue, the Les Schwab Amphitheater in Bend, has been rolling out its star-studded 2018 summer concert line-up and it’s already filled with big-name acts set to rock the region.
The 8,000-capacity venue situated on the banks of the Deschutes River in Bend’s Old Mill District opened in 2002 and almost immediately became a must-stop for high-profile touring artists. In recent years LSA has hosted the likes of Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Death Cab for Cutie, Alabama Shakes, Ringo Starr, Paul Simon, Weird Al and many more.
The 2018 line-up includes a diverse mix of returning and first-time acts: (Click the artist to buy tickets.)
Deschutes Brewery is Bend’s first and largest brewery – and it’s one of the first stops for beer-loving visitors looking to get a behind-the-scenes look at a pioneer in the industry. (An industry that’s thriving here in Central Oregon, by the way. We’re now home to roughly 30 brewpubs and the famed Bend Ale Trail.)
Tours of the ever-growing brewing facility have gained in popularity in recent years. So much so that Deschutes has announced it’s expanding the tours to help accommodate more visitors each day. The brewery now offers four tours a day every hour on the hour between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. (The taps in the tasting room will be open from noon to 7 p.m.)
Additionally, not only will you get a couple of complimentary samples of Deschutes’ delicious brews, but you now have the opportunity to purchase full drafts, half pints, snifters and non-alcoholic beverages on site and enjoy them until early evening.
A new food truck will be stationed outside the brewery to help quell any hunger pangs you might get during the tour. Lighter, pre-packaged snacks will also be available for sale inside.
The tours take about 45 minutes and cost $5 per person. They include two beer samples during the tour to, as Deschutes puts it, “provide a more immersive experience that combines the unique sights, sounds and fragrant smells of the brewery with a taste of the freshest end products.”
During the tour, you’ll truly see it all – from hops to bottle tops – including a cool look at the history of Deschutes’ iconic Jubelale label art.
The tasting room also features a huge selection of Deschutes Brewery swag like hats, beanies, sweatshirts, t-shirts, pint glasses and so much more. You can also buy beer to go, making sure your vacation rental fridge is fully stocked during your Central Oregon vacation.
Sometimes after a day full of adventure, all that you crave is a simple, yet delicious, stick-to-your-ribs sandwich. (And a beer, obviously.)
Whether you call it a “sammie,” “sando,” or “sammich,” there’s an amazing sandwich waiting for you at the end of the trail in Central Oregon. Heck, even if you’re one of those weirdos who consider a hot dog a sandwich, we have you covered. For the purposes of this story, we’re not including burgers in the “sandwich” category, but rest assured there are TONS of great burgers here. (Don’t see your favorite listed? Tell us where to find the best sandwich in Central Oregon in the comments!)
In the iconic downtown Bend breezeway, the Beach Hut Deli offers a great selection of hot and cold sandwiches in a “chill” setting perfect for catching a game on TV or just people watching on Mirror Pond Plaza. Try the Surfin’ Bird with turkey, avocado, bacon, cream cheese, mayo, mustard, pickles, tomato, red onions, lettuce, Greek peppers and cheese.
In beautiful Sunriver, Sunriver Brewing‘s menu is filled with post-adventure favorites, but one of my staples is the Turkey Dip with smoked turkey breast, pepper bacon, tomato, Tillamook white cheddar on a french roll with a side of natural turkey jus. Pair it with a Fuzztail Hefe and your afternoon is golden. (You can get the same sandwich at Sunriver Brewing’s Galveston Pub in Bend too.)
Three Creeks Brewing in Sisters is a perfect rest stop after hiking up Black Butte, fishing at Camp Sherman or mountain biking the Peterson Ridge trails. And for me, there’s not a better sandwich in all of Central Oregon (or anywhere for that matter) than the legendary Chicken Bacon Tater. NBD, just your basic sandwich with grilled chicken breast, thick sliced hickory smoked bacon, fries & chipotle ranch all rolled together in a toasted pita, “Taco Style.” Yes, that’s right: THERE’S FRENCH FRIES IN THE SANDWICH! Pairs nicely with a Knotty Blonde.
The Row at Bend’s Tetherow Resort has a great pub-style menu that includes all your favorites like burgers and wings and a rotating beer menu featuring several local breweries. And while it sounds simple: sourdough bread, smoked ham, and Tillamook cheddar cheese served with daily soup – the grilled cheese is top notch (especially served with the tomato soup that’s usually available.)
Crux Fermentation Project is easily one of Bend’s favorite brewpubs. The pub features three hugely popular food carts outside on the lawn. And while the pub itself has a limited menu, the Banh Mi sandwich has long been a standout dish. It’s porter-hoisin roasted pork belly, cubed ham, fresh cucumber, cilantro, do Chua, and sweet chili aioli. My colleague Kristine implores you to get EXTRA CILANTRO!
You can find a great steak sandwich on just about every menu here these days (most here are made with locally grown beef,) but you probably won’t find a better one than the one at 10 Barrel Brewing‘s West Side pub. Know how I know? Because my wife says so and, well, she’s kind of a steak sandwich expert (or so I’ve been told.)
For an out of this world dining experience, Worthy Brewing is your place thanks to the world’s first “Hopservatory.” Founder Roger Worthington will tell you the Salmon Sando is the best in the universe: grilled Atlantic salmon, Tillamook pepper jack cheese, fresh guacamole, lettuce, tomato, pickled onion, chipotle aioli on ciabatta. (Pro tip from my colleague Kristi: Get it as a lettuce wrap.)
And finally, Brother Jons has two locations in Bend and both have great menus. You can’t go wrong though with the Cuban: Pulled pork, ham, melted swiss, sautéed onions, dill pickles & spicy brown mustard on a grilled hoagie roll. (While you’re waiting, the habanero cheese dip is worth noshing on – it’s a white wine & garlic habanero cheese sauce with house-fried yellow and blue corn tortilla chips.)
Central Oregon has a rich and interesting history dating back, oh, a few thousand years (see: Lava Lands). But beyond the geological beauty abound (see also: Smith Rock) there’s a great bit of human history that pre-dates settlers along the Oregon Trail. We’re lucky to have a handful of exceptional museums with carefully curated artifacts to help tell the story of Central Oregon.
Here are 4 museums you can’t miss during your Central Oregon visit.
Erickson Aircraft Collection
The Erickson Aircraft Collection in Madras proudly displays a vintage aircraft collection started by Jack Erickson in 1983. The collection features over twenty rare aircraft, most of which are still in flying condition. The newly named Collection will feature rare aircraft that are still in flying condition such as the P-38 Lightning, P-51 Mustang, Ki43 Hayabusa, F4U Corsair, SBD Dauntless, Grumman Duck and B-17 Flying Fortress.
Des Chutes Historical Museum
The Deschutes Historical Museum features exhibits that allow you to explore Deschutes County prehistory; area Native American tribal history; early exploration and fur trapping; homesteading the High Desert; logging and Forest Service history; and life throughout Deschutes County over the years. The museum also hosts an annual Haunted History Tour in the weeks leading up to Halloween.
High Desert Museum
Whether you’re three or 93, there’s something for everyone at the High Desert Museum.
See birds of prey, the porcupine exhibit, a bobcat and more. Check out our collection of desert dwellers in the Desertarium. Visit with living history characters at the 1904 Miller Family Ranch. Explore High Desert history and culture in our permanent exhibits. Enjoy watching the river otters in their newly renovated Autzen Otter Exhibit. The Museum is set on 135 beautiful wooded acres just south of Bend. It’s no wonder the Museum is ranked the #1 thing to do in Bend by TripAdvisor.
Museum at Warm Springs
Visitors to The Museum at Warm Springs will experience firsthand the sounds of ancient songs and languages, the mastery of traditional craftsmen and the sights of rich and colorful cultures that make up the Confederated Tribes of The Warm Springs Reservation of Oregon.
The three Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation – Warm Springs, Wasco and Northern Paiute, created this museum to sustain their cultures and preserve their traditions for their children and visitors. The museum is a vital part of the Warm Springs tribal community. Once you are done indoors you can stroll the 1/4 mile Twanat Interpretive Trail to learn about the plants, animals, fish and geology.
So many breweries, so little time to visit them all. Such is the dilemma for visitors who would love to taste all the amazing beer we have to offer but just can’t carve out the time during a long weekend. Luckily, there are PLENTY of local beer festivals and events throughout the year that feature a one-stop-shop for you to try some local craft beer.
Here’s a rundown, compiled by our friends at Bend Lifestyle Magazine.
The region’s largest brewfest, Bend Brewfest features nearly 200 beers from dozens of local and regional breweries, live music, great food and tons of fun.
Les Schwab Ampitheater
Redmond Brew Fest
Enjoy brews from 50 breweries and cideries in American Legion Park. Festival includes food vendors, great live music and more.
American Legion Park
You can get into a pretty spirited “discussion” among friends at the pub by declaring your favorite local beer among the hundreds of tasty Central Oregon brews.
Some folks are old school Deschutes Brewery Mirror Pond Pale Ale fans. Some prefer the RPM IPA over at Boneyard or the 20″ Brown at Cascade Lakes. Some of the new sour beers like Bend Brewing Company‘s Ching Ching get folks all worked up while some out-of-the-box flavors like 10 Barrel’s OG are the new go-to brews. (Fun fact: Deschutes Brewery’s Red Chair NWPA has been named BEST BEER IN THE WORLD at the World Beer Awards, not once, but TWICE!)
Everyone has different tastes, but beer lovers can agree on one thing: They’ll never get tired of trying new creations – which makes the 14th Annual Bend Brewfest August 10-12 such a popular event.
All told, more than 160 beers and ciders will be poured for 10’s of thousands of people. Here’s how it works: Admission is free, but you’ll have to buy a $15 commemorative mug which comes with 5 drink tokens. Additional tokens are sold in packs of 5 for $5. Each token will get you a 4 oz. pour – but if you want a full mug of your favorite beer it’ll cost you 4 tokens. Many of the brewers will be on hand for the event as well, taking questions and talking about their craft. It’s a rare chance to find so many of the major beer players in one spot at the same time.
Plenty of Central Oregon’s tasty food carts will, of course, be on hand to help fill your bellies with something more than alcohol.
The event has grown larger each and every year and is one of the most anticipated events for locals and visitors alike. Kids are even welcome at the event until 7 p.m each night. And a proceeds from the Brewfest go to a couple of local charities including NeighborImpact, our local food bank.
Thirsty? Head over to the Bend Brewfest Website for more info or check out this “How To” guide from our friends over at the Old Mill. It has some great tips on how to really enjoy the brewfest (like that would be hard to do.)
It’s hard to believe, but 25 years ago, the volcanic features that make up Newberry National Volcanic Monument weren’t protected. If it wasn’t for a group of concerned Central Oregonians, the monument wouldn’t exist.
“In the late 80s, at the time, the collaborative process we see today for land-use planning just wasn’t as common. So, the success of that effort locally really helped it move through Washington quite quickly to become a National Monument,” said Scott McBride, the monument manager.
Now, more than 54,000-acres are protected. Including one of the most visible and popular attractions — Lava Butte.
“There’s the combination on the top of Lava Butte of being near an active lookout, hiking a short ¼ mile trail and getting views to the high Cascades or Newberry Volcano,” said McBride.
The heart of the monument is Newberry Volcano. In the caldera there’s two lakes, Paulina Lake and East Lake. There’s endless opportunities for fun on the water, camping, hiking and more.
“You can bring a horse, a sailboat, a fishing boat, a bike, and be perfectly happy to with finding a place to recreate in the mode that you want to in this National Monument as well,” said McBride.
If you’re a history buff, make sure to hike in the Big Obsidian flow. Believe it or not, at 1,300 years old, it’s the youngest lava flow in Oregon and it was used to test astronaut suits!
“The belief was that testing the mobility of the suit on the Obsidian Flow would be mimic those conditions that the moon would present with those same suits,” said McBride. “Whether that played out that way I don’t know but the story is, a rock from Newberry was brought and left on the moon.”
And another part of the monument, might make you feel like you’re on another planet.
“Lava River Cave is approximately a mile long underground world that’s about just a mile and a half from the visitor center,” said McBride. “It’s a great visit on a hot day especially, it stays about 42 degrees in the cave.”
Paulina Falls is a stunner no matter what the weather is. It’s also incredibly accessible, you can actually hear the roar of the twin falls from the parking lot.
“A lot of visitors will get the short walk looking down on the twin falls plunging about 80 feet over welded volcanic, tough cliff, but if you take that extra ¼ mile walk down below it’s a great perspective,” said McBride.
It’s truly a view even locals will find breathtaking.
“Residents of La Pine, Sunriver and Bend have a chance to rediscover or still discover for the first time that this national treasure is right out your back door,” said McBride.